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Event Title: Meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan held at Parliament House with Senator Prof. Sajid Mir in Chair.

Event Date: 2023-02-02

The Senate body deliberated on budgetary utilization of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan during the first six months of current fiscal year,2022-2023. Officials informed the committee that the total budget of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan for the year 2022-23 is around Rs.1142.168 Million which includes 186.143 Million rupees for Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan, 260.000 Million rupees for Refugees Management Cell, 24.954 Million rupees for Directorate of Health Services (AK), 4.432 Million rupees for J&K Refugees Rehabilitation Organization and 666.639 Million rupees for Gilgit Baltistan Council Secretariat Islamabad. They further added that the Federal Government has released Rs.459.571 Million till December 2022 and total expenditure till aforementioned date is around Rs. 455.264 Million and a shortfall of Rs. 151.636 Million is expected under the head of Gilgit Baltistan Council, Islamabad.

Discussing the matter of Azad Kashmir properties located in the different parts of country. The committee decided to form a Sub-Committee to probe the matter and Chairman Committee opined that these properties should be handed over to Azad Kashmir Government so that they will be able to get benefit from it.

The Committee was also briefed about the preparations with respect to Kashmir Solidarity Day which is celebrated  every year on 5th February. Zahoor Ahmed, Secretary for Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan, apprised the committee that government has aimed to disseminate Pakistan message on Kashmir Solidarity Day worldwide and support from Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has also been sought in this regard. Among other activities,  ministry has organised three days cultural festival with the collaboration of National Council of Arts to exhibit the culture and traditions of Azad Jammu Kashmir and a walk from Foreign Office to D Chowk will also be held to mark solidarity with people of Azad Kashmir. The Chairman Committee congraluted ministry on their efforts in highlighting the Kashmir cause and reiterated that no stone shall left unturned in self determination struggle of Kashmiris people.

The meeting was attended by Senator Shahadat Awan,Senator Shaheen Khalid Butt, Senator Kamran Michael, Advisor to Prime Minister on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Qamar Zaman Kaira, Additional Secretary for Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Zahoor Ahmed and other senior officers of concerned departments were also in attendance.